2022 has been a good year for Tamil cinema, which appears to have bounced back after the pandemic. Though producers and theatre owners are still missing the pre-pandemic market, last year has established a ‘new normal’ and the potential of the future film business. The OTT has definitely changed the game forever, and its progress was accelerated during the lockdown. However, last year also had some record-setting hits like Vikram, Ponniyin Selvan 1, and Thiruchitrambalam proving that all is not lost for the theatre business. With the promise of last year’s successes, one can expect more such repeats in 2023. And here is a list of promising films, that might make 2023 a good year for both the audience and the filmmakers.
Varisu, January 12
It is a much-needed start for Tamil cinema as Vijay is releasing his first film of 2023 in the very first month of the year. Directed by Vamsi Paidpally, Varisu is marketed as a complete family entertainer apt for the Pongal holiday season. After a long while, Vijay is coming back with a film exclusively for family audience, which was once his core fanbase.
Thunivu, January 12
One of the biggest clashes on this year’s Pongal is between Thunivu and Varisu. After a gap of eight years, the two superstars of Tamil cinema are clashing at the box, which has created a huge debate and expectation among the fans and everyone involved in the industry to see whether such competition would benefit the film industry or would end becoming a lose-lose situation for both the films. The trailer of Thunivu, directed by H Vinoth, also looks promising as Ajith is doing an anti-hero role similar to the one he did in his blockbuster film, Mankatha.
Ponniyin Selvan 2, April 28
The biggest hit of 2022 was Mani Ratnam’s historical fiction Ponniyin Selvan 1. It has to be seen whether the ace filmmaker will outdo the collection of the first part with PS 2. Starring Vikram, Jayam Ravi, Aishwarya Rai, and Karthi, in the lead roles, PS2 will conclude the story, written by Amara Kalki Krishnamoorthy.
Kamal Haasan made a comeback of all time last year with Vikram, which collected about Rs 400 crore at the box office. In 2023, he will be back with another action-drama, Indian 2, which is a sequel to his 1996 film. While the first part was about the vigilante Senapathy and his son, the second part would take things backward, narrating the story of Senapathy and his father. It will also be a litmus test for director Shankar, who hasn’t had a release in the past four years.
It is one of those projects in Tamil cinema that has been in the making for a long time now. Starring Sivakarthikeyan in the lead, the film is a sci-fi thriller and is expected to be on the lines of Aamir Khan’s PK. Director R Ravikumar, who made a brilliant debut with the time travel film, Netru Indru Naalai (2015), has been working on this film for the past seven long years. Hope it will be worth the wait.
The Superstar was missing from action last year, and he is expected to make up for it with Jailer, directed by Nelson Dilipkumar. It is speculated that the story is about a police warden trying to stop prisoners from escaping. The film has an interesting cast of Ramya Krishnan, Kannada star Shivaraj Kumar, Vasanth Ravi, and Vinayakan in pivotal roles. The film is an important milestone in Nelson’s career as the director has to prove his mettle since his last film, Vijay’s Beast, ended up an underwhelming affair making fans wonder whether the director has run out of steam already.
What is Lokesh Kanagaraj going to do this time? Will he outdo Vikram? Is the film part of Vikram universe? Is Trisha part of the film? There’s a lot of questions surrounding this yet-untitled film, but the makers are tight-lipped about everything. It has been officially confirmed that Gautham Vasudev Menon is doing a role in the project and other information remains a secret. The only thing that’s public knowledge about the film is that it is going to have one of the biggest openings in the history of Tamil cinema as it brings together the most-happening Tamil actor and director.
While he was expected to work with Bala, Vetri Maaran, Pa Ranjith, Suriya surprised everyone by announcing a film with director Siva of Veeram fame. The teaser of Surya 42, which was entirely made with CGI, further intrigued the audience about the genre of the film. It is said that Suriya 42 is going to be the biggest film in the actor’s career in terms of budget. Looks like Suriya is also jumping onto the pan-Indian bandwagon with this one.
While the other films on the list were all big-budget ventures, Vetri Maaran’s Viduthalai is an odd one out. Starring comedy actor Soori in the protagonist role as a police constable, the upcoming film is based on the short story Thunaivan, written by Jeyamohan. The film also stars Gautam Vasudev Menon and Vijay Sethupathi. All of Vetri’s film adaptations of books have been winners with the last one Asuran (Based on Poomani’s Vekkai) grabbing National Awards (Best Actor for Dhanush and Best Feature Film). Naturally, there’s a huge expectation for another adaptation from Vetri.
We all know what Dhanuhs did with Thiruchitrambala last year. When it was held that only big-budget action films would only work in theatres, the actor and director Mithran Jawahar changed the game by showing how even a family drama with a naive and vulnerable hero can get people to cinemas in large numbers.
If Dhanush was able to pull it off with a sober family drama, it is exciting to think what he would do with Captain Miller, directed by Arun Matheshwaran of Rocky fame. The film is pitched as a historical action drama, a genre Dhanush hasn’t done yet.